While the lawsuit wrestles over First Amendment rights and prayers before public meetings, workplaces also have to balance employees' religions — even if they are outside the mainstream — with discrimination laws as well as how much displaying beliefs might disrupt operations or cause problems.
Tabitha Myers, an attorney and employment law expert the Barrett & Matura PC law firm in Scottsdale, said workplaces and managers need to make sure they accommodate workers' religious beliefs regardless of how mainstream they may or may not be.
“As long as it’s a sincerely held belief,” Myers said.
That accommodation can range from schedules related to prayers or attending services to religious dress codes and appearances. It could come down to whether a Satanist can wear a pentagram necklace the same as a Christian employee wears a cross.
Scottsdale finally comments stating, "The temple was turned away in 2016, not because of any particular religious affiliation, but because they did not have any substantial connection to the Scottsdale community. The city has not been served with the complaint, so we are not in a position to offer specific comments in response. We believe the city’s practice meets all constitutional requirements"
1) The emails we acquired by way of Freedom of Information Act, and which are cited in our suit, clearly demonstrate that the Council discriminated against us specifically because of our religious affiliation.
2) The Mayor, Jim Lane, during his re-election, bragged on his very campaign literature that he had kept "the Satanist sideshow" out of Scottsdale.
3) There were no pre-existing requirements or metrics to determine a "substantial connection to the Scottsdale community."
4) No other groups were asked to prove a substantial connection, and outside Christian groups have delivered Scottsdale invocations.
5) We do have members in Scottsdale who could have delivered the invocation on our behalf but, again, Scottsdale didn't actually do anything to determine whether or not we had community ties.
6) There is nothing constitutional about a government agency engaging in religious discrimination, and it's questionable whether a "community connection" requirement for engagement in an "open forum" is constitutional even if it's not presented retroactively and as an excuse for said religious discrimination.
7) We're going to win this lawsuit.
- Commentary by Lucien Greaves